I have never been interested in interpreting art down to minute details – such as the meaning of a candle wick. However, what I do find interesting is interpreting art to learn about past cultures and history. Art is like looking through a window into the past. Reality is represented in the ideas and forms that the art depicts. Representation is used as an idea to “represent absent things as present.” Mimesis in Greek means “Imitatio” and is defined in artistic terms as reproducing the external world and as an imitation of nature while Renaissance means “rebirth.” The mimesis of the Renaissance instead creates a convincing argument that artists were depicting reality. Real world objects are just mere representations of sacred symbols. The Renaissance was a time when these depictions were brought to focus. Oil paint was the most common medium used to create the most detailed art. These details are also shown in different mediums; for example, poetry uses sound and time while literature uses color and space. Art uses shadows and one point perspective to show reality.
I was most intrigued by the painting of Mary and St. John as intercessors in Jesus’s crucifixion. The setting took place under a covered vault and created at one point perspective to appear as though the scene opened into an illusory secondary space. The Holy Father was at the top of the scene (above Jesus on the cross) but farthest away in perspective. The placement of the people showed their significance in the painting.